Dorchester Illustration no. 2332 Seavey P. Swan
At the Dorchester Historical Society, we are in the process of a year-long project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I. Using a collection of photographs we have of WWI Dorchester residents, we will be featuring servicemen in a number of short biographies throughout the year. At the culmination of the project, we hope to produce an online exhibit which highlights these men and their service to our country.
Our next biography features: SEAVEY PIERCE SWAN
Seavey Pierce Swan was born in Dorchester on 7 November 1874 to J. Edwin Swan and Annie Tower, both of Massachusetts. The family, including an older brother William, lived on Adams Street. The father was a clerk. In 1880, the family still lived on Adams Street with the father being a clerk in a store.
In 1893, Seavey graduated from Dorchester High School where he was a member of the cadets. By 1900, Seavey was 26 and still living with his family on Adams Street. The family consisted of his mother and father, and his brother William, who was married and had his own daughter. There are also two people listed as servants living with them. Their father, John, was a plumber, William was an Associated Press Reporter, and Seavey was a telephone worker.
On October 20, 1906, Seavey married Laura Stevens of Gloucester. He was listed as a manager and she a teacher. They had 3 daughters. Mary was born in 1907 with Seavey listed as an engineer and his residence given as Castlegate Road. Elisabeth was born in 1909 with Seavey listed as a telephone employee in Boston and his residence given as Seaver Street. Daughter Anne was born in 1915.
Seavey enlisted in the Cart Artillery in June 1917 when he was 44 years old. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on July 1917 and was at Fort Banks (a U.S. Coast Artillery Fort, Winthrop, MA) until October when he was moved to the Watertown Arsenal. In April 1918 he was ordered to Fort Monroe Officers School for two months (April/May). Following that, he was stationed at Fort Strong (a U.S. Coast Artillery Fort on Long Island, Boston) until July 31, 1918 when he sailed overseas with the American Expeditionary Force for Auge, France.
After the war, Seavey returned to Boston. In 1920, he was living in Dorchester, on Seaver Street, with his wife and three daughters. By 1930, the Swans had bought their own home on Manthorne Road in West Roxbury and were living there with their two oldest daughters, Mary and Elizabeth. Seavey was a telephone worker and Laura stayed at home. The census listed him as a World War I veteran. In 1940, the family was still living at the same house on Manthorne Road but now with Elizabeth and Ann. Seavey was then listed as a salesman in the motor oil industry.
Seavey died suddenly of heart disease on December 20, 1962 at Carney Hospital. He was 88 years old and was living on Kirk Street in West Roxbury. He had been retired from the Subsignal Company. He was survived by his wife, is buried at the Dorchester South Burying Ground and is memorialized on a plaque of the Third Religious Society (Unitarian) which is located at the Dorchester Historical Society.
Do you know more about Seavey Swan? We would love to hear from you! All material has been researched by volunteers at the Dorchester Historical Society, so please let us know if we got something wrong or you think a piece of the story is missing!
Birth Records, FamilySearch.org
Census Records, Federal, 1880, 1900, 1910, FamilySearch.org
Census Records, Federal, 1920, 1930, 1940, Ancestry.com
Death Record, Vital Statistics, Mt. Vernon St., Dorchester
Death notice, Boston Globe
Dr. Perkins’ notes
Find A Grave Index, FamilySearch.org
Graduation program, Boston City Archives
Marriage Record, FamilySearch.org